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HindustanTimes Sat,26 Jul 2014

A big hit with the BJP, new entrant Satpal Maharaj is party’s star campaigner

Prithviraj Singh  Dehradun, April 01, 2014
First Published: 23:01 IST(1/4/2014) | Last Updated: 23:04 IST(1/4/2014)

Former Congress Lok Sabha MP from Pauri Satpal Maharaj may have failed to make a mark in the Congress, but the BJP has incorporated him in its select list of star campaigners for the upcoming parliamentary elections within few days of him joining the saffron brigade.

Maharaj is one of the few faces who are in demand by the BJP candidates from across the nation. He has been able to find his place among the most sought-after 11 star campaigners of the BJP — a list that includes the party PM candidate Narendra Modi, Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj, LK Advani, Arun Jaitely, Nitin Gadkari, Murli Manohar Joshi, Smriti Irani, Hema Malini, Kirron Kher and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.

No other new entrant has been able to make a mark to the extent he has.  The BJP poll managers in Delhi are getting high demand for Maharaj’s rallies, mainly in areas where his followers have substantial presence. He has already addressed rallies in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. This has forced the BJP’s central leadership to provide him a separate team to coordinate his rallies.

The BJP’s central leadership is also not willing to leave any stone unturned in cashing upon and making maximum use of the former Congress MP, who has a huge religious following across the nation. They are of the opinion that Maharaj’s religious following will easily convert into votes for saffron candidates for their natural affinity towards it, unlike in the past where they were forced to choose between the guru and their natural liking for the BJP.

“Maharaj is getting a very good response from our nominees. No new entrant has been so much in demand right from day one. Party candidates from different parts of the country are vying to invite him in their areas, as he has mass religious following,” said RP Singh, the party’s election coordinator in Delhi.

The BJP has already received requests for Maharaj from Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Darjeeling and Himachal Pradesh.

Seeing the flow of demand, his friends from the Congress have now started sending feelers to him. They have requested Maharaj to stay away from areas in UP and MP where he has a huge following. In fact, according to the sources, senior Congress leader and Union minister Kamal Nath, who represents Chindwara in MP, and Jatin Prasad from UP, have already requested Maharaj not to come in their constituencies as both have substantial presence of his followers.


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